Internet Safety for Kids: Things to Keep in Mind this Fall

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With school back in session, now is a great time to bring up the importance of internet safety. Children are now, more than ever, exposed to the internet, and parental figures play a vital role in their children’s lives to help set them up for success while they navigate it. South Valley Services wants to help. So, here is some information to know and tips for creating boundaries around the internet for your children.

Many different apps and software are on the market to help keep your child safe, but the most effective way is to teach them about internet safety and foster an open dialogue so that if something does happen, you can help. Children need to know they are safe to share any content they find that is scary or uncomfortable. But before you can help, you must ensure you know all the dangers that exist on the internet. According to the Consumer Notice, threats to children's internet safety include invasions of privacy, cyberbullying, sexting, and harassment, which are the primary dangers to keep in mind.

Some tips for helping your child navigate the internet are to encourage them to have an intentional relationship with how they interact with the internet and set boundaries with them on what is appropriate for their age group. Some healthy boundaries around them interacting with the internet could include:

  • Have pre-approved websites they visit.
  • Have them share their account logins with you.
  • Explain the importance of not trading personal information such as photos, addresses, phone numbers, school names, or locations.
  • Instead of their real name, consider only using an agreed-upon screen name and explain the importance of only sharing their passwords with parents.
  • Never respond or send a threatening email, message, post, or text, and share with an adult if they are experiencing it or see someone else being a target.

According to, here is a list of tools to help ensure your child's internet safety:

  • Age-appropriate filters: Using tools like Safe Search helps you restrict what content your child can search for and further limits the odds of your child seeing age-appropriate content such as sites containing pornography, violence, gambling, and illegal drug information. Settings are password-protected. But remember, filtering is not perfect.
  • Monitoring/accountability software: Paid internet monitoring and accountability software such as Norton Family, Circle Home Plus, and Net Nanny can help you monitor your child's digital habits and detect and implement restrictions for devices on your network, and set the rules for sites like YouTube and TikTok.
  • Time limit settings: Tools like Safe Search can also help keep your children accountable for the time limits you have agreed upon. While children are learning moderation and balance with the internet, this tool can be helpful depending on how easily they can access it.
  • Limit your child's instant messaging (IM) contacts and disallow access to chat rooms: While it's important for this to start as a conversation by explaining to your child the dangers of talking to strangers on the internet, including gaming chatrooms. You can also take the extra step of limiting their access to pre-approved and discussed friends they know in person when it comes to online chatting.
  • Set up cyber-security protections: Regularly update the operating system and install a firewall and up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Many times, child-oriented websites are used to bait children into downloading something, like malware, on accident.

To conclude, approaching internet safety can feel overwhelming, but if you start a dialogue and take precautions, you can help set your child up for success and hopefully set them on a lifelong path of having an informed and intentional relationship with the internet where there is room for dialog as they grow.